An open letter on Men’s Rights

 

Circulated at Arizona University by Men's Rights Activists

Circulated at Arizona University by Men’s Rights Activists

Dear Men’s Rights chaps,

I’m writing this open letter to you because it’s clear than no-one has explained to you the benefits of a benign Matriarchy.

I’ll try to set out the key points so that you can come to your senses and see for yourselves how much your life could be improved.

You might get laid, for starters. With your newly defined status as sex objects, even if you are ‘plain’ by most standards, there will be a woman or women that wouldn’t mind “giving you one”; particularly if you take the care to pretty yourself up and wear clothing we find ‘provocative’.

You’d find a whole new range of careers, too. You could be the assistant to a glamorous business woman, a nanny to some challenging children, a nurse or primary school teacher – all delightful ways to put you in touch with your nurturing side. You won’t be paid or valued much, but think of the personal satisfaction!

If you are deemed conventionally attractive, you might find a role as a call boy, a model, an erotic dancer or a porn star – you WILL be well paid and have lots of opportunity for sex – wouldn’t that be nice?

If a wealthy woman takes a fancy to you, well, you’ll have a fantastic lifestyle. Imagine shopping with your friends all day and enjoying exotic holidays, while your looks last, of course. I’m afraid there won’t be any alimony, because we will have abolished that, but you’ll have some fabulous memories to think back on; once you are traded in for a younger model.

As for being ‘butch’, of course this will be encouraged. We still need you to do the sweaty, grunty stuff your genetics designed you for.

If, on the other hand, you are ‘good with computers’ as so many of you activists seem to be, there will be jobs for you, as well. You can take care of all the admin, while the women are out doing the important stuff.

We’re not sure that you are responsible enough to have a vote, because, after all, you made a mess of the world while you had the power; but don’t worry your pretty little heads about that.

You can learn to cook, clean and look after the kids and running of the household in addition to your full time job, it’s challenging, but you can have it all! Aren’t you lucky!

There will be education,of a kind, open to you, mainly focussing on your support skills, manual trades and homemaker training – you’ll be in the company of your fellow men, so you can indulge that tribal instinct of yours with breaks to run about and get sweaty with a ball.

You’ll have to make the most of it, though, because in twenty years or so, we’ll be making you redundant. Once we’ve milked the brightest, fittest, attractive and most compliant of you of your sperm reserves, you will, in fact, be obsolete and because so many of us will abort boy babies, your numbers will diminish, but no matter, enjoy it while you can!

You will, of course, be expected to live up to impossible ideas of physical beauty, but think of it as a hobby, that will last you all your life and utilise those hunting instincts of yours to find the best plastic surgeons and clothes designers to make you attractive to women. It’ll keep you pretty busy!

So, all in all, what’s not to like? So stop tweeting nonsense, or creating silly little websites and come to momma. You know you’ll love it, you dirty little bitches.

Yours patronisingly,

 

Madame Wilde

An open letter to a Tweeter

Dear Spunk Licker @arsefuck

Someone who should know better, retweeted you into my timeline today. Reading what you say and seem to need to let the world see, has made me feel very sad. Before you ‘do a Miley Cyrus’ and tell me I’m a past it old hag that’s simply shut shaming; know this. I would say the same things to your male equivalent “Cock Thrust @Yourhole.”

You’re not even a porn star, or selling sex. I think that photograph is actually you. As are the photographs of various bits of your body, in the level of detail that only a gynaecologist would be interested in studying.

You look young, college age, I would guess and I think you are American, by use of your idiom. For all I know, there might be a lot more to you, than this sad exhibitionism. Maybe there’s an interesting mind and personality that no-one ever gets to see?

By using your own picture, you are making quite a statement to the world. It’s not a positive one. In a year or two, you’ll be looking for people to employ you. Right now, the people on your college campus or at school are talking about you and your reputation.

They’ll not bother to look beyond your arse and crotch shots. They will see you as you seem to see yourself, as a cheap piece of meat of little value. You might get hundreds of retweets every time you show your vagina, but is that what self esteem means to you?

You portray yourself as a hyper-sexual person, but from the frequency of your Tweets, I doubt that is the case. For if you were, in fact, enjoying and celebrating your sexuality; you’d be too busy having sex to be on Twitter so often.

What I’m really saying is that you are not a one dimensional human being. You’re better than that. You will have talents and attributes that people will love you for. You may not get as many retweets as showing pictures of your sex organs, but the responses and comments you get will be about the real you. And they might help you feel a bit better about yourself.

You are doing yourself a disservice. Please think and understand you have many gifts to offer the world, not just sexual ones.

Yours

Scarlet

* original Twitter name not used

A message to a girl

Dear You

You’re going to have to be brave, but you’ll be OK. This will pass very soon.

If you were my little sister, I’d give you a hug and talk to you about how there is an unfair double standard in our society. Even though everyone ‘pretends’ that we can do whatever we like and it’s OK to get a bit drunk and mess about, some people will give you a hard time about it.

It’s not just the old folk that have these strange ideas, it’s girls and boys of your own age, who still haven’t understood how the world is changing.

It’s just not fair, but you need to be aware of it. The people who don’t understand might call you some horrible names. They are ignorant, so you must ignore them and, whatever you do, don’t take their judgement on board. They don’t know you and they are unable to think for themselves.

I expect you feel embarrassed and ashamed. That’s a horrible feeling, but soon you’ll clear that out and get angry. You have every right to be angry. Angry is healthy. I’m angry that those older boys were stupid and irresponsible when they could see you were out of your head; I’m angry with the friends you went with, who didn’t stick together with you, as good friends should. I’m VERY angry with whoever took the photographs and put them on the Internet. They are cruel, ignorant and, the lowest of the low, they are bullies.

I bet you’re feeling like your life is over and you’ll never be able to hold your head up in public again. That’s definitely not true. You made a mistake, it’s part of growing up. I’d bet that every grown up you know has made a mistake by drinking too much or doing something silly in the heat of the moment. We’re all still here. We survived. You will, too.

I don’t know if your mum ever told you this, so forgive me if you’ve heard it before. Us women have sexual needs and desires just like the men. The problem is that some men (particularly those in charge) are frightened by that. Can you imagine? Frightened!

That’s why they want to keep us in our place. They do that in many ways, they on the one hand like girls and women to look sexy, but when they ARE sexy, it freaks them out. Ridiculous isn’t it? So they try to control this by calling women who are acting naturally, sluts, whores and other such rubbish.

You shouldn’t care about ignorant people like that, but be aware that they are around. They will judge you by their own mean standards. You must rise above them.

Now, you have the right to enjoy sex, but you are still very young. You also need to take care of yourself and understand that enjoyable sex will most likely be better with someone you know well and in private. That is because society is old fashioned like this. They are scared that if we all went and had sex anywhere we wanted to with anyone we wanted to, no one would go to work, pay taxes or do much else!! So they try to control us. 🙂

There are an awful lot of women, especially grown ups, that understand how bad it must be for you right now. We’re on your side. We’ll make sure that this all dies down and any pictures are removed. You now need some peace and quiet to get over this. Talk to women you trust, get lots of hugs and do your best to ignore the idiots.

Put this behind you now, as a mistake. It will soon be forgotten. Next time you go to a concert, stick with your mates and have fun.

Have sex if you want to, but have it on your own terms when you are fully alert and know what you are doing and best to do it in private, away from idiots with cameras. Make sure you have birth control as well. You’re too young to get into being a mum just yet, your whole life is ahead of you.

You WILL be OK. We are sending our love and support.

Your sisters in the UK. X

You’re the only one who understands me

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“You’re the only one who understands me”

was what the man who smashed a glass into my face had said. It was the first warning sign that, somehow, during our vague acquaintance, he had developed an unhealthy attraction to me. I was engaged to a friend of his and we were deeply in love. This man was on the periphery of our circle and played guitar in a band my fiancé sang for. I was 22.

The man had caught me at the bar buying a round and pushed himself up too close to me. I remember smelling his hot skin and backing away so that the bar crushed against my spine. It was awkward. I didn’t want to be unpleasant, but I wanted to end the conversation and get away. I said

“I’m sure that’s not true, we hardly know each other!”

And tried to move to the left and slip by into the crowd.

He put his hand on my shoulder, I shrugged it off instinctively.

“Look, I’ve got to get these drinks back”.

The ice in the glasses was burning my hands.

“I really need your help” he said.

“Please, only you can help me. If you’ll just come over to my flat, we can talk.”

He was making me feel very uncomfortable. I saw a way out.

“OK. I will. Tomorrow. Steve and I will come over.”

He grimaced and I took my chance to slip away and get back to my friends. I took Steve outside and told him what had happened. He was angry, but I asked him not to confront the man, not then.

Nothing more was said and I was confident we three could discuss it all calmly the next day. Rehearsals went well. The man had said nothing else to me. I relaxed a little. Then we were outside a pub, I was drinking wine. The landlord kicked us out, forcing us to finish up and leave. Stupidly, I took my wine glass with me into the street. From nowhere, the man punched the glass into my face as I was taking a sip. The blow was so violent that the glass shattered and cut through my cheek into my mouth.

Everyone, including Steve, dived onto the man. A fight ensued. I just stood there shocked. The amount of blood from my face was soaking into my coat, through my jumper and t-shirt and staining my bra red. I was pushed into a taxi and taken to hospital. It took a while to stop the bleeding. I felt nothing and only have a vague memory of a doctor stitching up my face.

The next day, we went to The Police. The Desk Sargeant asked me to undo the bandage and he recoiled. He called over two PC’s who were also aghast. I hadn’t looked at the damage, but seeing it reflected in their faces, I knew it must be bad. The policemen were gallant and supportive. They left immediately and in righteous anger to make an arrest. We heard later that the man had disappeared.

One year later, we went to court. Actual Bodily Harm. The victim blaming came with the Prosecution. He tried to imply that I was uncontrollably drunk and had pushed and shattered the glass into my own face. He kept talking about the ‘trajectory’. I was so shocked at the audacity of these lies that I began to cry. The man was fined £100 and had agreed to have treatment for a mental condition. I felt humiliated. I had not received justice. I planned revenge in my head that night.

That year, I had bourne the scar like an affliction. I walked into a bar and had everyone stop talking to stare at me. A bus driver told me I had ‘something on my face’ and told me to wipe it off. I saw pity and horror in stranger’s eyes. Children openly stared until their mother’s hurried them away. My face looked so strange, young and smooth on one side, then chewed up and bruised on the other, with a vivid ugly scar.

The crime photographer made me hold a ruler up to the scar. He took black and white photographs that showed every detail. They were sent to the Criminal Injury Compensation Board and eventually I got a cheque for plastic surgery to lessen the scar to some extent.

You can hardly see it now, but the experience of being a victim blamed has always stayed with me. In that court I was made to feel weak, helpless, shamed, for something that was certainly not my fault. Every time I hear of a rape or abuse victim facing a hostile prosecution, it brings back that sick, angry, helpless feeling. I don’t know what the answer is, but I know that victim blaming has to stop.

Will the real feminists please stand up?

suffrageOne of the eye-opening things about Twitter is the variety of feminist interest groups and what looks like considerable anger and disagreement between many of them.

Recently, it was the turn of anyone who wasn’t a ‘privileged white woman’. I understand than women of colour, women living in very patriarchal societies, or under religious constraints have other things to deal with than white women in the West; but surely, there must be more that unites us than divides us?

I am a middle aged white woman, living in the UK, Irish Catholic background, single, self- sufficient and disabled. I have been a feminist since I realised, as a girl, that the way boys and men were treated was unfair.

It was the era of Greenham Common. Feminism was portrayed as a bunch of fanatic “man haters” with cropped hair and dungarees. These women were, like the Suffragettes before them, paving the way for me to have a good education and a career of my own. I am eternally grateful to them.

On TV and all around me was breathtaking sexism. Feminism was parodied in popular programmes like the Two Ronnies’ The Worm That Turned. We were fed on a diet of Benny Hill bimbos, dancing girls, giggling female sidekicks and men in drag playing “Old Bats”. None of which would be acceptable today.

I subscribed to Spare Rib at 14, was confused by my burgeoning sexuality and how, almost overnight, it gave men licence to comment, harass and treat me like an object. Just travelling to and from school was a daily trial.

Thanks to reading women writers like Greer, Friday, Dworkin, Woolf, Steinem, Acker, Radcliffe et al, I was convinced that not only was I as good as any man, I was going to have the career of my choice (Journalism) and succeed.

I soon discovered, after competing with 100 other applicants for a Journalistic Apprenticeship, being a young woman in a man’s world was a daily diet of fighting back, claiming my space and attempting to overcome ingrained prejudice.

This came to a head, one freezing day in February, where the male principal of a training college in Hastings, where I was taking my NUTJ certificate, wanted to send me home for the sin of….wearing trousers. I would be fired if I refused. I refused.

In the following years, I experienced sexism consistently in my working life, saw male colleagues of lesser ability get promoted before me and always paid more; but I was lucky to work for some strong, highly intelligent, women and I became the Managing Director of a successful, profitable Consultancy at 38, with a company car, a six figure salary and a handsome annual bonus.

The company was sold some years later to new male owners and things changed. I stayed a further three years, but frustrated at my now constrained autonomy, I took a pay cut and a senior job in an international advertising agency as a Board Director, heading up several teams.

In my second year there, a young male client from a major account that I had pitched for and won, insisted that he wanted a young male director to run his account. He had considerable influence and the company attempted to dismiss me on the grounds of age and sex. I took legal advice and agreed on a settlement; but the experience shook me and hit my self confidence a while.

I came to the realisation that being a woman in business can be like having an invisible burden, prejudice is always lurking somewhere and no matter how hard working, personable, inspiring, experienced, intelligent or capable a woman is, there are always men that are either through fear, envy or dyed in the wool misogyny, will actively attempt to sabotage us. There is not only a glass ceiling, there’s a ceiling with spikes on it, that can crash down and destroy you, unless you can roll out of the way in time.

I’d like to say things have changed since, but the truth is, it hasn’t. The underlying misogyny is still there in the corporate world and, elsewhere.

I recall an international gathering of women in advertising that I was invited to recently, with worldwide representatives including senior women in HR. The agenda disintegrated into trivia when we could have used all that female power to CHANGE something. The simple matter of finding out the disparity of pay between men and women in our organisations, for instance. But the schisms grew, infighting ensued and nothing got achieved.

So, dear women (and those who identify as women), we’ve still got a long way to go. I believe we are stronger united than divided and that we are all fundamentally fighting for one simple (yet difficult to achieve) thing – EQUALITY.

So let’s bury our differences and fight inequality anywhere we find it. We can start with ensuring that we each stand up and support each other in our individual circumstances, we can build the way forward with small and large victories. But let’s unite, all of us, and focus that amazing, inspiring, powerful, laser-beam of female strength where it belongs – against anyone who tries to hold us back from living the lives we all deserve.
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Will the real men please stand up?

imageI think is must be difficult to be a man.

Once everything was very clear cut. Males were hunters and protectors, evolved to group together for the cause of the tribe. Sexuality was very simple and probably predatory, with the male instinct to impregnate as many fertile females as possible. I’m sure there were alpha and beta and possible omega males in the tribe and a fair bit of competitive jostling to be king of the cave.

My mother’s generation varied very little from those primal origins. Women were educated to a point but, most importantly, were schooled by older siblings and peers to find a mate, a provider, so they could give up work, have a family and ‘keep house’.

Sexuality was somehow shameful and secretive, but men were expected to ‘sow their wild oats’ whilst women were expected to be loyal and virtuous. Women could ‘look’ sexy, but better not ‘be’ sexy or they would risk being a social outcast. Men were certain in their breadwinner roles, socialized with other men, in mostly male environments and met women at traditional gathering places like dance-halls and parties. The sexes were a bit of a mystery to each other.

Then the sixties happened and everything changed in a few years, but missed my parents who retained their 1950’s mindset, even though they were young at the start of the “Summer of Love”.

Both sexes enjoyed a new freedom in terms of work, self expression and sex. Men could embrace their feminine energy and women their masculine energy, it must have felt very wild and exciting. But that freedom wasn’t everywhere. There were still people living in traditional roles and society was completely male dominant. Hence the growth of feminism.

My mother and father were somewhat bemused at how Women’s Rights were addressed in the media at the time. They adopted the caricature of the angry women burning bras and eschewing men, whilst wearing dungarees and plaiting their spouting bodily hair.

A lot of men took it very badly and found it threatening, but as long as their wives or girlfriends didn’t start being ‘radical’ they still assumed their dinner would be on the table when they got home from work and that they had a sex drive but ‘nice’ girls didn’t.

Growing up, I discovered that things were “unfair”. As a woman, I was supposed to ‘look nice’, be quiet and be adept at cooking, keeping house and doing the chores, just like Mother. I was angry about the way my younger brother could continue playing, while I and my female relatives were expected to “help get dinner ready” or “do the washing up” and it wasn’t cool for me to climb trees in my pretty dresses, I was supposed to play with dolls that looked like babies.

At around the age of 12, I became aware there was a different way. At an all girl’s school, we were encouraged to be academic and plan for the career of our choice. The women who taught us were strong, university educated and had impressive Doctorates. Some of them sowed the seeds of feminism. Some were, ‘shock horror’, devoted entirely to God (nuns) or lived with each other in covert lesbian relationships.

Still a virgin, I remember speaking at a heated debate about abortion and a woman’s right to choose, I subscribed to Spare Rib and I rejected all my mother’s propaganda that my sole aim in life was to marry a nice rich man and have children.

I felt the equal of any man and I noticed that my brother now had his own share of the household chores and was no longer deferred to. The masculine head of the household had been deposed as my remote and quiet father left. We were living in a crazy matriarchy, that was really a patriarchy, now.

At art college, my male peers appeared to be ‘enlightened’, where perhaps some of the male lecturers weren’t and I enjoyed being strong, independent and in charge of my sexuality. There were hints of old fashioned oppression, but my friends and I were strident about rooting it out and usually won. We did as we pleased, in that safe little bubble.

I came up against the Patriarchy later. Firstly, there was unwanted and scary sexual attention from men and secondly in the world of work, when I started a job as a journalist on a local paper. I was the only female and younger than the other writers by a decade or more. They would consistently make leery comments whenever I went out on a story with a male photographer or other colleague, it was always assumed that, sooner than later, one of them would ‘conquer’ me and we’d have an affair. Needless to say, I strictly kept my work and personal life separate.

Two things happened later, that brought this to a head. One was a policy at the NUTJ college, where I studied for a few months; where the male principal insisted that all women should wear skirts (it was Winter in Hastings and freezing) – which I refused to obey. I wore smart trouser suits and, pathetic though it seems now, this caused a furore, with me being carpeted by my editor, but I stuck to my guns and earned a reputation for being ‘difficult’.

The second was a staff Christmas lunch, where, as the only young woman present, things got a bit ribald with drink and some of the male journalists were going too far with the sexist comments about me and young women that were passing. I needed to get up my nerve with a few drinks, but when I had, I put my hand under the table and started stroking the thigh of the worst offender and watched him panic, with some amusement, as I moved my hand further up.

He soon ‘made his excuses and left’. It was a risky strategy, he may have enjoyed it and reciprocated, but somehow I knew, even then, that the biggest blusterers are also the most insecure and the bantering stopped after that. I don’t know if he told the others, but as he was a fat, unattractive, man in his fifties, they wouldn’t have believed him. Yes. I sexually abused a man and I should be ashamed!

I had more than my fair share of abuse in my early days in advertising, especially as a junior account handler. There were clients that assumed ‘client servicing’ included sex, I got good at ducking slobbery kisses and learned that even if a drunk male colleague slept overnight on my sofa, I’d be defending myself against rumours the next day. One rumour started because a male colleague and I were seen walking down the stairs to the stationery department one evening. By the time the rumour of my ‘office lover’ had reached me, it had blossomed into us being seen having sex in amongst the files and biros! I did trace it back and my colleague joined me in dressing down the (male) gossip in front of the agency.

My male friends tended to defer to women and were more ‘gender neutral’ than traditionally masculine. I carried on carving out my career, standing up for anything I thought sexist and unfair and having long term relationships with men around the same age, who wouldn’t dream of asking me to take on a ‘housewifely’ role or stand in the way of my ambition. I was always stronger than they, which consistently disappointed something in me.

By living my life independently, I ensured I kept my own bank account, managed my own money and bought my own property. None of the men I dated earned more than me, I don’t think they resented it, but because of that, there was always a difficult situation when it came to holidays and household budgeting. I didn’t want to be the breadwinner, to pay for everything, to give my boyfriends a better lifestyle than they would have ordinarily had, but that’s how it always ended up. I did end up resenting it after a while.

I didn’t generally date people from work, I avoided flirting with bosses or senior people, because I found it unprofessional. My boyfriends tended to be iconoclastic musicians, writers, artists, which are, unfortunately, usually broke and outside the corporate world I was being swallowed up by.

I dated a couple of wealthy guys, but they were wealthy as a result of family wealth, which breeds a certain kind of lackadaisical ennui. They didn’t HAVE to work, they didn’t NEED anything, it was all taken for granted, so although I had some flashy dates like being flown to Paris in a private plane or expensive weekends away; I was bored by their lack of fire and drive.

Later on, as I rose through the ranks and ended up running a profitable agency, I found that my male peers much preferred beta rather than alpha women. They didn’t want their partner to be an equal. The MD’s and CEO’s dated much younger receptionists, PA’s or those spoiled rich girls who pretend to work at ‘hobby’ jobs in PR and publishing, whilst looking to marry well, as soon as possible and take up a career as a wife and mother and, disturbingly often, being traded in for a younger, more vapid, creature later on.

I began to ask myself, should I dumb down, be more ‘girly’ or even earn less? However, this would somehow be a disservice to myself. I wasn’t interested in dating substantially older men, or men on their second divorce, being bled dry by their ex wives (see hobby jobs above).

It seemed to me that there was a generation of men and women still stuck in the 50’s and the men I knew were more feminist friendly, but just not very ‘manly’ or responsible for themselves. The women I knew were much more ‘together’.

Talking to younger generations today, makes me believe there are still issues around equality. Many young women are generally stronger, more self sufficient and overtly sexual than we were and many young men are threatened by this. I was speaking to my nephew and his friend (22) and they both said they found girls of their own age a ‘nightmare’ and quite ‘threatening’.

I am wondering whether I am a freak, or if other women and men feel a bit lost in our vaguely defined modern roles? If we look to the media, pre feminist roles are still prevalent, women are out to marry wealthier, high status men (the footballer phenomenon) or give up their careers to have ‘Hello’ featured families. Ninnies like Kate Middleton or Sam Cameron are in the same roles that Jackie Onassis or other vapid handmaidens through history have taken on. An accessory to their men.

What I want from a relationship shouldn’t be impossible. I’m earning half of what I used to and have realised that there’s more to life than work. I’m not some monstrous ball-breaker, but I offer and expect respect. I can be soft, dippy and silly as well as intelligent, passionate and outspoken. But I do like men to be men, not little boys looking for a mother substitute or a cougar to take them in hand sexually (!)

But what IS a man these days and what is a woman? Maybe, somehow, we need to move beyond this and accept that both sexes have a bit of both going on, that sexuality and, even gender behaviours, have become a bit blurred? I’d like a man to treat me as a person, that if I show my softer side, it doesn’t mean weakness or a need to be dominated and if I am strong, it doesn’t mean I want him to be emasculated. It’s a tricky one and something I have yet to achieve.

Is it ridiculously egotistical to want a man who appreciates me as I am?

High flyer

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Once,I was wonder woman
Perhaps you saw me flash by?
Through the VIP lounges
Turning left in the cabin
Standing in a hundred boardrooms
Profit clocking up for others

Being bigger, brighter, stronger
Unfathomable, without a rudder
Or an inner pilot steering me
I rose, higher, higher, highest
Then the air grew thinner, thinnest
And I burned up on re-entry

Now I am a fledgling, featherless
Fallen from the nest, stump winged
Looking upwards at the branches
Quivering in the damp grass unhidden
Scent in the nostrils of predator
Small, soft, yellow quilled, fluffy

I open my mouth to roar, ‘ I am woman ‘
My voice trills and chatters musically
Seeking a kindred being, like a beacon
Alerting hunters too, who prowl disguised
As friends, protectors, while sizing me up
For a vicious kiss of death in snapping jaws

I no longer know where the bubble of
My aura starts and finishes, if protection
Can be entrusted to my growing beak
And claws, or how long I must wait
For the scales to elongate as feathers
Sending me off in flight beyond the horizon

Gender benders

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I’ve always felt like a gay man in a woman’s body and occasionally a bi-sexual man in a woman’s body. Confusing? Should it be?

If every aspect of personality, mental quirks,physicality and sexuality is on a spectrum, why should we have to rigidly define ourselves? Why can’t you be a little bit gay or a girly man? Why do we have to plant down flags and gather a tribe around them?

I used to be (on paper, anyway) an Alpha woman. Ran a profitable multi million consultancy, had a telephone number salary, chunky bonuses, flashy sports cars, over specced London flat and the lifestyle that went with it.

My male equivalent would have been a similar type. Suited and booted with an unfeasibly large watch and a taste for exotic holidays and electronic gizmos. And a bigger car than mine.

But never the twain shall meet.

Mr.Alpha finds Ms.Alpha’s success threatening, he hates it when she takes command of the menu, the wine list, the bill. If her salary or career eclipses his he has big problems. By knocking her up and encouraging her to be a parasite wife, it’s just one more opponent out of his way.

Ms Alpha (well, my version) loathes Mr Alpha. She sees through the suits, the boots, the car, the gadgets and is not in the least bit impressed. He reminds her of the dorks she has to work with as her male peers are so often considerably less talented than she.

So Mr Alpha finds solace in a young Beta, who gives him the uncritical admiration he desires and Ms Alpha has the choice of all the Mr Betas, who, after a while, either despise her for her success or take full financial advantage of it. And they bore the pants off her.

These days, I’ve retired from Alpha land. I’m softer now, gone are the trappings, the designer clothes are in a suitcase in the loft, the London flat sold, the car is an old one and I live in a modest cottage in the country. I’ve dropped the business mask and now indulge in my hippy, earth mother, dreamy writing side. I am content.

Now I am less ‘threatening’ and potentially more of a gentle soul, who do I pick for a partner, next?
The cougar role, although very easy, is not for me. I know what kind of partner I need. Someone big enough to not only be my equal, but also my protector. Rare? Probably. But I can wait. There’s no point in deluding myself about second best. And baggage is best left away from my door. I’ve dealt with mine and I’m too busy living to deal with unpacking anyone else’s.